Interfaith service at Cathedral

Last modified: 8/6/2013 10:25:01 AM
RINDGE — Since moving from Hinsdale to Jaffrey about three years ago, the Rev. M. Allyson Szabo she has felt a calling to establish an interfaith community in the Monadnock region. Through Patchwork Interfaith Community, a new ministry she launched in late June, Szabo said Tuesday she hopes to help build bridges of communication among people of different faiths and raise spiritual awareness.

Szabo said she encourages people to consider how different religions can be viewed symbolically, as the pieces that together create a patchwork quilt. “They are all unique and different from one another, but there are similarities, too,” she said in an interview at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge. “You can find ways to put them together into something that becomes a unified whole.”

Szabo took the analogy one step further, saying the top of the quilt is what people show of themselves to the world, the inside is quality filling that makes a person who they are and the backing is one’s private space.

Encouraging people to celebrate the qualities that make each person unique is important, Szabo said, adding, that “We cannot be afraid of our differences.”

Szabo was ordained as an interfaith minister after graduating from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies in New York City in 2011. Through the program, she earned her two-year certificate degree in ministry , but Szabo said she may return to school one day to earn her master’s degree in ministry .

“I’ve been spiritual my whole life, but I didn’t feel a call to be a minister until my 20s,” Szabo said. “In my 30s, I started looking at seminaries and that’s when I found New Seminary.”

Szabo has studied several religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Paganism and the Bahá’í faith.

Her ministry’s first service was held on July 7 at the Cathedral of the Pines, and this Sunday Szabo will hold a second service at the Cathedral’s St. Francis of Assisi Chapel. Sunday’s service, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., will include elements from the Bahá’í community, whose members believe in one God as the source of all creation and that all humans were created equal.

Szabo said the Cathedral of the Pines has been an important place to her for many years, and the outdoor setting has provided the perfect atmosphere for her to explore her spirituality.

Cathedral of the Pines is a nonprofit organization that has a strong respect for the natural environment and people of all religious denominations, according to its website. The organization does not sponsor or support one religious ministry over another.

Typically ministries are allowed one service at the Cathedral per year, but Szabo said she is so gracious to the organization’s Board of Trustees for allowing her two services this summer.

And Szabo’s services at the Cathedral are just the beginning of her new journey with Patchwork Interfaith. She said she plans to hold additional services throughout the region in the months ahead, and that people should stay tuned for further details.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.


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